State Patrol must respect civil rights at Iowa Capitol

Iowa lawmakers have never enacted a “bathroom ban” targeting transgender people, but some State Patrol officers took it upon themselves to enforce that non-existent policy at the Capitol on March 12.

Security guards forced a large group of students to leave the building because some of the teens had used restrooms conforming to their gender identity.

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Iowa House unanimously votes to outlaw "gay/trans panic" defense

Iowa House members voted 95 to 0 on March 5 to prohibit criminal defendants from claiming any violent crime was justified because of emotions related to discovering the victim’s “sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

House Judiciary Committee chair Steven Holt introduced the bill later renamed House File 2503. The initial draft applied to those charged with causing the death of another person. An amendment drafted by Republican State Representative Bobby Kaufmann and Democratic State Representative Liz Bennett broadened the scope to cover anyone accused of a violent crime.

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Pete's "gay problem" that isn't

Ira Lacher: Demonizing Pete Buttigieg for his sexual orientation might be the worst political blunder the Trumpanistas could make. -promoted by Laura Belin

Been Skyping for years with a longtime friend from my Bronx growing-up days, and when he’s fed up with venting about the ineptitude of the New York Mets, our discussions turn to politics.

He’s still undecided, and has a long time before he votes in the New York primary in late April, but he’s willing to support anyone who’s not a self-described socialist, a gaffe-prone warhorse, a Hillary clone, a billionaire, or a quixotic Hawaiian. So his choice is between Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, about whom he doesn’t know enough, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, about whom he knows too much. As in, he’s gay.

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The T in LGBTQ has never been silent...and neither should we

Daniel Clark was a 2016 national delegate for Bernie Sanders and an independent candidate for U.S. House in Iowa’s second district in 2018. -promoted by Laura Belin

Fifty-one years after the Stonewall riots, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are names I often find myself speaking aloud, although most don’t recognize them. As a white gay cis man I know it is the sacrifices of these two brave trans women of color that paved the way for the life I live.

Much like today, back then trans people were treated as pariahs even within the LGBTQ community. Marsha and Sylvia have been credited as being some of the first to resist arrest during the nights long Stonewall Riots, yet within a few years had been pushed out of the movement they started. But today the name I keep repeating aloud is neither Marsha nor Sylvia, but Michelle. Michelle Kosilek.

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How you can stop the effort to roll back transgender equality in Iowa

UPDATE: House Judiciary Committee Chair Steven Holt confirmed by email on January 29, “The bill is dead. I will not assign it to sub-committee.”

Original post follows:

Nine Iowa House Republicans are trying to make it legal to discriminate against transgender Iowans in many areas of daily life, including education, employment, and housing.

House File 2164 would remove gender identity protections from the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Adding sexual orientation and gender identity language to that law in 2007 was one of the hard-fought victories of the new Democratic legislative majority.

The civil rights law bans discrimination against protected classes in “public accommodations, employment, apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs, vocational schools, or housing.” Iowa House and Senate Republicans set a terrible precedent last year by altering the code to deny gender-affirming surgery to transgender Medicaid recipients. (That law is being challenged in court.) So it’s not surprising a group of social conservatives want to deny all civil rights to trans Iowans.

It’s far from clear there are 51 votes to get this horrible proposal through the Iowa House, or that state Senate leaders would want to pass it in the upper chamber. After the jump I’ve highlighted how fair-minded Iowans can help keep this bill from becoming law.

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Why I'm supporting Elizabeth Warren for president

Aime Wichtendahl is a city council member in Hiawatha (Linn County) and Iowa’s first openly trans elected official. -promoted by Laura Belin

A few years ago, I stopped into a gas station near my house to grab a soda. As I was preparing to pay for it, I noticed that the cost of a bottle had increased slightly so I asked the clerk about it.

“Everything goes up except the wages,” he said.

“Hopefully that wouldn’t be true for much longer,” I replied.

At that time Linn County had initiated a plan to raise the minimum wage to $10.25. I had served on the working group that made the recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. And while $10.25 wasn’t yet a livable wage, it was a start.

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